Mid-age Tooth Loss May be Linked to Heart Disease

Not Just Another Link

You have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease if you’ve lost some teeth during your midlife. This isn’t really new because the link has been known for a hundred years. However, this preliminary study excludes all other traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, poor diet, and diabetes. It’s just tooth loss alone in your 40s and up that can lead to heart disease.

This was the conclusion of the preliminary research led by Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA. The research team focused on tooth loss and coronary heart disease. It involved thousands of participants, both men and women, ages 45-69, who were later followed up in two large studies: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS).

At the start of the study, began in 1986 and another in 1992, the participants enrolled had no coronary heart disease. They were asked about their number of natural teeth when they enrolled and their tooth loss assessed in the next 8 years. The results were quite amazing.

Teeth Loss

Those who started off with most to all of their natural teeth and lost 2 or more of them in midlife had 23% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease when compared to those who had not lost any tooth. It did not matter of the quality of diet, amount of physical activity, body weight, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. However, no significant increase in risk was found for those participants who said that they had only lost one tooth. And regardless for those who had any number of teeth at the start, if they lost 2 or more during the study, they were 16% more likely to develop the heart disease. Further, if the participants had fewer than 17 teeth at the start, the risk is 25%.

In conclusion, this suggests that if you’re in midlife and losing a higher number of teeth lately, it may be associated with coronary heart disease independent of the baseline number of natural teeth and traditional risk factors. However, it was admitted that the findings present some limitations as feedback were based only on participants’ reports. The study is not yet published as a peer-reviewed paper.

Watching Oral Health in Midlife Can Save the Heart

Your Bellevue dentist says all the more must you be mindful of your oral health when you reach your 40s. Regular dental appointments do more in saving you from unnecessary tooth loss.